EMERSON – Before the news broke of asylum seekers crossing the border into Emerson, it had been over ten years since the town’s reeve had done media interviews.
The slower country pace had taken a sharp turn for Greg Janzen, who has spoken to media from all over the world in the last two weeks. The Emerson-Franklin reeve has also been in contact with government officials and RCMP nearly every day.
“I’m not one to be public speaking. I don’t like doing interviews but now this is something I had to get used to,” Janzen says. “My first TV interview was in 2005, and up until two and a half weeks ago, I hadn’t done one since.”
But for local businesses, they say the number of visitors has been a good thing.
“I had people coming in, renting rooms, and then the restaurant was picking up,” Wayne Pfiel, manager of The Emerson Hotel said. His business had its first full booked weekend in over a year.
Little J’s Cafe and Lounge next door to the hotel opened just two weeks ago and Jacquelyn Reimer, the owner, said it was perfect timing.
“I say it would be almost the best time to open a business right now because of all the press that’s been coming through,” Reimer said.
She says all of the asylum seekers and media passing through have been the talk of the town.
“There’s been a lot of buzz. Every morning we have the coffee shop talk. Everybody’s talking about which reporter they talked to the day before, what TV station was in.”